Trans men share their experiences of smear tests with #EndSmearFear

Trans men
(Photo: Pexels)

This week Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust launched their latest campaign to tackle the silence surrounding smear tests here in the UK.

During this year’s Sexual Health Awareness Week (16th – 22nd September) the trust launched the #EndSmearFear campaign to open up a conversation. The aim is to get people feeling more comfortable discussing vaginas, cervixes and smear tests on Twitter. The open discussion online aims to encourage more open communication around these issues in general.

This campaign comes after a 50% rise in the discussion of smear tests in the past two years (since 2017), demonstrating that attitudes are slowly shifting on these issues.

3,200 people are diagnosed with cervical cancer every year in the UK, 900 of which won’t survive, making getting tested of vital importance. Along with several notable public figures, from Love Island’s Maura Higgins to singer-songwriter Louise Redknapp, trans men have also jumped in on the conversation.

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Discussing issues around vaginal and cervical health can be particularly difficult for trans men. In a move to include trans men in the discussion around smear tests, many have taken to Twitter to share their own experiences.

One user urged “trans guy, trans masculine, nonbinary, or anyone who has a vagina and is not a woman” to get tested:

Another user took the opportunity to share his own experience of going for a smear test. He explained how it triggered his dysphoria:

https://twitter.com/MelGeog/status/1173554745388228608

Discussing the new campaign Kate Sanger, Head of Communications at Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, shared:

“We want to help reduce some of the fear and uncertainty around smear tests and have seen first-hand the power of social media in doing this. We’re pleased to be working with Twitter to see smear tests, cervixes and vaginas talked about as normally as using an emoji. By encouraging positive conversations we hope more people will feel comfortable asking questions, know where to find support and feel able to book a test if they choose to do so.”

Anyone with a cervix is eligible for a smear test aged 25 to 49 every three years and aged 50 to 64 every 5 years. For more information visit JosTrust.org.uk/EndSmearFear.

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